The Impact of COVID-19 on Container Volumes of Major World Ports



Professor Theo Notteboom, Shanghai Maritime University, China; Ghent University, Belgium; Antwerp Maritime Academy, Belgium; and University of Antwerp, Belgium


The Coronavirus emerged in China in December A full lockdown in China followed in January 2020, with an immediate effect on trade volumes as production activities were halted and ports were forced to downsize their activities.

The closure of factories generated a supply shock in China. The disruptions in China and later also in other East Asian economies started to disrupt global supply chains, which made container carriers to announce a first wave of blank sailings.

Given the sailing time between Asia and major markets in Europe and North America, the full impact of these
blanked sailings on European and North American ports became only visible from March 2020 onwards.

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